7 Simple Ways to Make Time for Your Passions
OK, so, you get it – pursuing your most cherished dreams is part of living a joyful and purposeful life. But how in the world can you do that when life is already so full?! You’re always running around, feeling scattered, going from activity to activity, the house needs a good cleaning, and your to-do list is out of control. On most days, doing your thing seems like an out-of-reach fantasy. What now?
Start with a deep breath. Trust me, making your dreams part of your daily life is not only possible, but it will ramp up your productivity and energy. Pick a couple of these ideas and try them for a month, and you’ll begin to notice the positive effects of creating more time for joy in your life.
You can do this. Remember, being insanely busy is a choice. You created it, now you can change it.
Get up earlier (or stay up later). No, not enough to mess with the sleep you need to be healthy. But adding just 30 minutes to your day, perhaps in the morning when everyone else is sleeping, can be a simple way to build in time for your passions. This sacred “me time” will nurture your soul and give you more energy for the rest of your day.
Simplify mealtimes. You spend a lot of time on food – grocery shopping, cooking, eating, and cleaning up. You can eat healthy meals and still save time. How? Plan your meals for the week in advance. Do all the shopping on one day, avoiding having to make multiple trips during the week. Then pick a weekend afternoon or a weekday evening to cook several meals at once. Refrigerate and freeze meals in appropriate serving sizes. When it’s time for dinner, you can just heat up the meal, giving you an extra half-hour or more each day to pursue your passions. For lunch, pack leftovers or simple salads rather than having to go out and get food. Voila, more time!
Drop one activity. You probably have a few recurring activities in your weekly or monthly schedule that have started to feel like obligations. Drop one. Just one. The soccer boosters, historical society, or book club will do just fine without you. There’s no need to drop a commitment that feeds your soul – that would be counterproductive. Choose one that no longer feels fun, and let it go. No guilt.
Dial back on the TV and web surfing. Keep a log, just for a few days, of all the time you spend watching TV or Netflix or scrolling through Facebook or Pinterest. Now reclaim an hour or two and use it for doing your thing. Don’t worry, pursuing your passions is better than relaxing. It’s fun, rejuvenating, and inspiring! And yes, you can probably do it in your pajamas.
Date yourself. Put some time for you on your calendar. This used to seem like a silly suggestion to me, but then I realized all the benefits that come from spending time on things I truly enjoy. Schedule a date with yourself, and keep it. Make it of equal priority with other obligations. Start with just an hour or two. Make sure it’s fun – that will mean you want to ask yourself out again.
Hire some help. If you’re just too busy, find a cleaning service to help out each week, a landscaper to take care of the yard, or a tutor to help the kids with their academic work. Hiring someone doesn’t have to be expensive. Get a local teen to be a mother’s helper, playing with your young kids while you take some time in another room to be creative. Barter with a friend to take turns running errands for each other, so you’ll both have every other Saturday free. Your creative time is worth some of your hard-earned money.
Multi-task. Depending on your passions, you may be able to combine what you love to do with something that’s already an essential part of your life. Social life: find a friend or family member who loves the same activity and add it to the time you spend together. Volunteering: is there a way to volunteer your time doing what you truly enjoy? Making a living: Looking for a second (or third) job to augment your income? Perhaps you can use your passions to generate money. Think outside the box and integrate your favorite things with existing life tasks.
Jump in and try one of these suggestions this week. Let us know if you come up with other ideas on how to make time for your passions. Share your experiences in the comments. Have fun!